(ANSI: New York) -- On June 15, 2012, the European Commission released a document detailing frequently asked questions (FAQs) concerning the European Union’s Directive 2001/65/EU—“Restrictions on hazardous substances” (RoHS 2). Because RoHS 2 is expected to have a significant effect on trade and business operations both for companies that do business with EU member nations and businesses with operations in the EU, the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) recommends that affected stakeholders download and review the new FAQs, which are available here.
The new directive modified RoHS, which first came into effect in January 2003 and limited the uses of a variety of noxious substances within the European Union with the intent of minimizing associated risks to human life and the environment. RoHS 2 was enacted on July 21, 2011, and is scheduled to come into effect on January 3, 2013, when all EU member nations are required to have integrated its provisions into their respective national laws.
RoHS 2 is intended to simplify the directive while also providing legal clarity and improving the enforceability of the directive’s restrictions on hazardous materials. The directive seeks to minimize the use of hazardous substances during the manufacture of electrical and electronic equipment (EEE), which is expected to reduce future human exposure to associated dangerous substances contained in waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE). In addition, RoHS 2 mandates a European Commission review of all restricted substances by July 2014, implements a new methodology for assessing suspected hazardous substances, and sets down clear rules for the granting or removing of hazardous material restriction exemptions, among other changes.
The FAQ document is designed to assist governments, businesses, and other organizations in their analysis of the provisions of RoHS 2 in order to ensure full compliance with the new requirements contained in the directive. Comments and questions regarding the current version of the FAQs can be submitted to ENV-ROHS@ec.europa.eu by Sept. 14, 2012. A revision of the FAQ document that may address submitted comments is expected to be published before RoHS 2 is put into effect.